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Friday, December 09, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-9-2016

El Paso Herald, December 9, 1916:

Baseball fans of the Isthmus of Panama are booming that section as an excellent location for one or more big training camps. It is claimed that the sanitary conditions of the canal zone, under the care and direction of the army and canal officials, are excellent, and that with the dry season extending from December to April the major league baseball players could not find a more satisfactory location for rounding into shape for their pennant battles.

Baseball players in Panama? In the canal zone? It’ll never happen.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 09, 2016 at 10:15 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-8-2016

A sure sign that it’s the offseason from the Pittsburgh Press, December 8, 1916:

Jim Thorpe, the Indian ball player who was sent to the Milwaukee club last spring by Manager McGraw, is to get another chance with the Giants. It was announced [in New York] today that McGraw plans to play him regularly in one of the outfield positions, if he displays improvement.

This is, IIRC, the fourth consecutive offseason in which it was reported that Thorpe had a chance to be an everyday player for the Giants. Once again, it didn’t happen. The Giants sold Thorpe to Cincinnati in April 1917 and he played cromulently if unspectacularly (97 OPS+, 0.5 WAR) in a half season as a semi-regular corner outfielder. The Reds returned Thorpe to the Giants in August, where he returned to his customary position on the bench.

It’s admittedly a small sample size, but Thorpe hit .216/.262/.323 (77 OPS+) in his Giants career while McGraw jerked him in and out of the lineup for six years. With the Reds and Dodgers, Thorpe hit .278/.303/.391 (~115 OPS+). I’m not saying Jim Thorpe could have or would have been a good MLB outfielder in a different situation, but I am saying that McGraw doesn’t appear to have done him any favors.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 08, 2016 at 10:17 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jim thorpe

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-7-2016

Keokuk Gate City, December 7, 1916:

DECATUR, Ill., Dec. 7.—Two 16-year-old boys arrested on a charge of stealing brass from the Wabash railroad have been sentenced to play baseball by Judge J.H. McCoy. The judge gave the boys a lecture on honesty and fairness and asked them if they played baseball. Both admitted they did. “I sentence you to continue playing baseball,” said Judge McCoy, “and learn well the lessons of fairness taught by that game.”

...and whatever you do, don’t steal bases.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 07, 2016 at 09:58 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-6-2016

Washington Herald, December 6, 1916:

Rules governing the world’s series soon will be revised by the National Commission, backed by the rival major leagues. Several important suggestions will be considered. They include a reduction of admission fees, an increase of the games to nine instead of seven, a curtailment of the players’ share of the money and a plan to give a cash bonus to every player in each circuit, tailenders to receive the smallest sums.

More games, more tickets sold (albeit at a lower per-ticket price), and less income for the players. What could possibly go wrong in the World Series if the players are upset and want more money?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 06, 2016 at 11:27 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world series

Monday, December 05, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-5-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, December 5, 1916:

Hugh Ward, who with Harry Frazee has purchased the Boston American baseball team…is planning to give Europe some major league baseball as soon as the war ends.

“My plan is to send a couple of baseball teams over as soon as the league season here closes,” Mr. Ward, who is president, today said. “As for the expense, it will cost less than to send a team from New York to San Francisco.

Also, send food. They’ll need food too.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 05, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, international

Friday, December 02, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-2-2016

Chicago Eagle, December 2, 1916:

Hub Purdue [sic] will no more add to the gayety of baseball. Hub announces from his home in Gallatin, Tenn., that he has quit and will devote himself to his business in Gallatin. He has a restaurant and confectionery there that is prospering and a farm near Gallatin besides. Hub did some good work for Louisville the past season, but admits he can’t keep the flesh off, try as he will, and that he has to give it up. Purdue’s trouble is that of many athletes—proneness to take on fat.

I can’t say I’d blame Red Sox fans for mentioning this article to Pablo Sandoval. Perdue didn’t actually retire at this point, though. He was still playing pro ball as late as 1923.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 02, 2016 at 10:31 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fat pitchers, history

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-1-2016

Washington Times, December 1, 1916:

“I have decided not to sell my stock in the Brooklyn Club,” said President C.H. Ebbets today before leading for Atlantic City. “My health was poor last summer, and I did think seriously of retiring from baseball. I feel batter now and have changed my mind. I think I’ll stay in the game.

Ebbets held on to the team for the rest of his life, dying of a heart attack in April 1925. His successor, Ed McKeever, died of influenza eleven days later.

Needless to say, April 1925 was not a good month for the Dodgers.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 01, 2016 at 10:20 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: charles ebbets, dodgers, dugout, history

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-30-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 30, 1916:

Robert A. Unglaub, manager of the Fargo (N.D.) Northwestern League baseball club, and former major league player, died [in Baltimore yesterday] as the result of an accident last Monday.

Unglaub was crushed by machinery at the Pennsylvania Railroad shops, where he was employed as a machinist during the off-season.

Aw, man, that sucks. No snark from me today. The guy got crushed to death.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 30, 2016 at 10:07 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, obituaries

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-29-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 29, 1916:

Salaries of baseball players in the American League who were signed at high figures to retain them during the war with the Federal League will be sharply reduced, B.B. Johnson, president of the league, announed [last night]. The game was conducted in an extravagant manner during the fight with the Federal League, President Johnson said, and all expenses connected with the operation of the sport next season will be curtailed.

I’m sure the players were excited about that development. Certainly none of them would have ever resorted to dishonest play in order to earn back the money they were about to lose. Right?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 29, 2016 at 10:37 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, November 28, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-28-2016

Pittsburgh Press, November 28, 1916:

Weldon Wyckoff, a member of the Boston Redsox pitching staff, is the owner and manager of the leading taxicab service at his home in Williamsport, Pa. It is said that since the close of the big series the number of cabs in the service have been materially increased. Wyckoff, a former member of Connie Mack’s team, is a pitcher who has a world of stuff, yet has been unable to develop into a winner.

In 1915, Wyckoff led the American League in losses, walks, earned runs allowed, and wild pitches. Not great.

He was almost exactly a replacement-level pitcher over the course of his career, so not really notable as a player, but I always find it interesting to get to know a bit about these old ballplayers as people. Also, I guess I’ve never thought about taxis being a thing in smallish cities 100 years ago. I had no idea 1916 Williamsport would have been big enough to need a taxicab service.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 28, 2016 at 10:39 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, November 25, 2016


Boston Globe: Boo Ferriss, 94; helped lead Sox to 1946 pennant

Dave “Boo” Ferriss, the Red Sox righthander who as staff ace helped pitch the team to the American League pennant in 1946, then saw his career cut short by a shoulder injury, died Thursday at his home in Cleveland, Miss. He was 94.

Betts, Bogaerts, and D Price(GGC) Posted: November 25, 2016 at 09:31 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: history, obituaries, red sox

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-23-2016

Topeka State Journal, November 23, 1916:

Tyrus Cobb, the Detroit baseball star, has succumbed to alluring inducements of a motion picture company. The Georgian’s first film will soon be released, it is understood. According to trustworthy information, Tyrus gave the director very little trouble when the play—a baseball story—was being filmed, until he was asked to make love to the heroine. Cobb, it is claimed, absolutely refused to indulge in Graeco-Roman tactics, so that part of his performance may be considered rather tame.

Unfortunately, this is probably a lost film, as the Library of Congress doesn’t have a copy. Reviews were mixed, but I tend to believe Broadway critic Ward Morehouse, who called it “absolutely the worst flicker I ever saw”.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:18 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, ty cobb

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-22-2016

Pittsburgh Press, November 22, 1916:

Bill Hanna has figured out that such evidence as is found in results obtained from figuring the run producing capabilities of the different National league teams in relation to base stealing and sacrifice hitting as contributory factors shows that sacrificing does more to promote scoring than the base stealing method. The Phillies, more industrious exponents of the sacrifice hit than the Giants, made more runs in proportion to hits than the Giants, who were far and away the best base running team.

The Phillies scored 0.467 runs per hit in 1916, while the Giants scored 0.457 runs per hit. The difference between the two was one run per 100 hits.

In the context of 2016 statistical analysis, this is unimpressive work, but I like knowing that people were at least attempting to think about this stuff 100 years ago. Difficulty acquiring comprehensive statistics was a huge hurdle, I imagine.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 22, 2016 at 10:24 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, November 21, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-21-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 21, 1916:

President Weeghman of the Chicago Cubs left [yesterday] on a trip to St. Louis, where he announced he hoped to procure some star members of the St. Louis Nationals for his own club. Rogers Hornsby is the most desired of three players whom the Cub president will attempt to land, although his chances to obtain him, on the surface of reports, would appear very slim.

An astute move by Weeghman, attempting to acquire a 20-year-old who’s already one of the best players in the game. As you might imagine (and as the author suggested), the Cardinals weren’t all that excited about the idea of getting rid of the best young player they’d ever had.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:03 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, rogers hornsby

Friday, November 18, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-18-2016

Washington Times, November 18, 1916:

Following the action of the minor leagues in refusing tho consider several demands filed with them by the Baseball Players Fraternity, comes the hint that there many be a general strike by the men who drew salaries for displaying their skill on the diamond.
...
“If the players decide to go on strike we will not try to stop them,” said a big baseball man yesterday. “The ball parks will be kept closed next spring if a majority of the players do not sign contracts…[if there is a strike,] club owners will fight the players to a finish. Organized baseball cannot afford to surrender to them.”

The players’ demands were entirely reasonable: Prevent clubs from suspending injured players without pay, allow players who were unconditionally released to sign elsewhere immediately, allow travel expenses for things like reporting to spring training and reporting to minor league assignments, and change the way players’ claims against owners were heard.

Seems crazy that owners would have been willing to drive the sport off a cliff in order to prevent these changes, but I guess labor relations were different in 1916.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2016 at 01:12 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, labor relations

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-17-2016

Tacoma Times, November 17, 1916:

There was great interest among baseball men today in the action of the minor league board in adopting a resolution which would abolish the drafting rule. The resolution would stop drafting from the American Association, International league, and the Pacific Coast league.

Should the move be adopted by the majors, the three minors in question would be elevated to the rank of major leagues.

I know I’m looking at this from the perspective of a hundred years later, but that seems like it would have been a terrible idea. Having five major leagues sounds crazy and unworkable.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 17, 2016 at 10:09 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history, terrible ideas

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-16-2016

El Paso Herald, November 16, 1916:

Samuel Dunlap, who claimed the honor of having given Hans Wagner and Cy Young their start in baseball years ago, is dead at his home [in Canal Dover, Ohio]. He was aged 60. Dunlap organized a team in Canal Dover and the near-by town of New Philadelphia, and hired Wagner and Young to play for him. He paid them their first wages as ballplayers.

That team must have shredded the Tuscarawas County League, if such a thing existed. Uhrichsville, Newcomerstown, and Gnadenhutten: Watch out. Cy Young and Honus Wagner are coming for you.

Somehow I’d never heard of Dunlap, despite having grown up ~20 minutes from Dover/New Philadelphia. Seems like someone they’d celebrate as one of the greatest talent scouts of all time.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 16, 2016 at 10:25 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Daily Beast: Murray Kempton on The Homecoming of Willie Mays

I’m Dan Gladdened that writers like Kempton didn’t just stick to politics.

When we hear it in the blues, it comes less often from the Delta than from Kansas City. It grows in the bones of scuffling, isolated country childhoods. It is much more broadly country Southern than it is uniquely black. The only baseball player before Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays who played with that almost brutal abandon we call the black style was Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals, a native of Roxboro, North Carolina. You read the tone in Faulkner when Boon Clatterbuck stands beside the wagon “turbaned like a Paythan and taller than anyone there … ’Them that’s goin,’ he said, ‘get in the goddam wagon. Them that ain’t get out of the goddam way.’” You can hear it in the old Venuti-Lang record of Farewell Blues, where there is a deal of slush and then a kind of stuttered note on the trombone and Jack Teagarden pushing everyone else aside. Boon Clatterbuck throwing his whiskey bottle away, Jack Teagarden almost clearing his throat. Willie Mays arraying himself for the charge—three pauses to assemble the irascible occasionally even vicious dignity of the Southern country boy’s announcement that he is taking command of the city ones.

Betts, Bogaerts, and D Price(GGC) Posted: November 16, 2016 at 08:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Baseball and Brotherly Love

Recapping the confusing claims, Philadelphia’s polygonal version of town ball employed four bases plus a striker’s point, resembled the New England Game of round ball, and both could be stripped down to cat ball when not enough players were present to play the game for which the clubs had been formed. The Philadelphia Game was regarded as baseball of an infant sort, yet it was “simply … rounders,” … which in the west of England was the name for a game played in the east of England and called … baseball.

Got that?

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2016 at 08:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-15-2016

Pittsburgh Press, November 15, 1916:

From a trustworthy source was learned one of the reasons why Organized Baseball is trying to form a third major league comprising Buffalo, Newark, Toronto, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Toledo.

It appears that several backers of the defunct Federal league who have not yet received a dollar from Organized Baseball as part of the peace settlement arranged last winter, are threatening to make more trouble.

Organized Baseball was refusing to pay the settlement while the Baltimore Feds’ lawsuit was still active, and the former Federal League owners were threatening to start a new outlaw league. The idea behind this proposed third major league was to take away eight potential markets from the angry ex-Feds.

I guess that makes some sense as a strategy, though I’d have been inclined to invite the Feds to lose even more millions of dollars trying to pass off inferior players in inferior markets as “major league”.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 15, 2016 at 10:05 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history, terrible ideas

Monday, November 14, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-14-2016

Seattle Star, November 14, 1916:

Prepare to shed a tear or two, ye baseball fans.

“Germany” Schaeffer [sic], the village cutup who has kept fans in the American and Federal leagues in chuckles of mirth during more than one contest on the diamond, has decided to leave the diamond forever.
...
Bill Donovan gave him a chance with the Yanks, but playing was needed, and not comedy, and “Germany” failed to deliver.

In fairness to Schaefer, the “chance” that he got with the 1916 Yankees consisted of one plate appearance in one game. He was probably done though; Schaefer was 40 years old, hadn’t hit much in years, and hadn’t played more than 60 games since 1911.

I’ve never understood why some players of this era (Schaefer, Nick Altrock) seemed to stick around for years solely because they were comedians who used to play baseball. I guess maybe the back end of the roster was less important when teams didn’t feel obligated to carry 12 pitchers.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 14, 2016 at 10:09 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Best Statistical Non-MVP seasons – The Hardball Times

Number one.

1941 Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox LF: 11.0 WAR; 143 G; 135 R; 37 HR; 2 SB; .406 AVG; .553 OBP; .735 SLG; .568 wOBA; 221 wRC+; -8.8 DEF
Williams’ 1941 campaign was one of the greatest in baseball history. Seventy-five years later, Williams is still the last player ever to hit .400 in a full season. He cemented the feat by going 6-for-8 in a doubleheader on the last day of the season. Aside from batting average, he also led the majors in WAR, runs, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wOBA and wRC+.

But Joe DiMaggio had his league-record 56-game hitting streak in 1941, too, and Williams finished second to him in the American League MVP voting. Williams was also the runner-up in 1942 when he had an 11.6 WAR and batted .346 with 36 home runs and 141 runs scored. He won MVPs in 1946 and 1949.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 14, 2016 at 09:27 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, history, mvp

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Undefeated: Marannis: No Gentle Saint—Roberto Clemente Was a Fierce Critic of Both Baseball and American Society

Marannis:

In its effort to adjust to the times, baseball is being shaped today by two trends that sometimes work at cross-purposes.  One is the demand by many ballplayers that they be allowed to express their individuality and not be forced to conform to old-school baseball conventions…

The other trend is the evangelism of analytics. I’m an agnostic when it comes to this religion. I have nothing against using statistical analysis to figure out the best way to win, for each at-bat and over the course of a season. Adherents deny any bias to their obsession, claiming the system is the most colorblind of all, that numbers don’t have colors or speak languages other than math. That is their right, but count me among the skeptics. There is a superficial white-boy, smartest-guy-in the-room superiority to it in some front offices and among professional analysts that ticks me off. Wins against replacement cannot quantify leadership or athletic electricity and beauty, and those are the two traits that made Clemente memorable.

Betts, Bogaerts, and D Price(GGC) Posted: November 13, 2016 at 09:50 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Friday, November 11, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-11-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 11, 1916:

Fritz Maizel [sic], third sacker of the New York Yankees, while out gunning today for rabbits…with his brothers, Ernest and George, the latter of the Montreal team of the International League, accidentally shot Ernest in the face. Ernest fell to the ground at the crack of the gun, and when Fritz and George reached his side, they found that a dozen or more shots had been imbedded [sic] in his cheek. Shot penetrated the lower eyelid and it is feared that the boy may lose the sight of the eye. He was rushed to a Baltimore hospital. His condition is serious, as it is feared that blood poisoning may set in.

I don’t know if he lost the eye, but I can report that Ernest survived the incident and lived until he was around 80 years old. The 1940 census reported that Ernest was the proprietor of a grocery store in the family’s hometown of Catonsville, MD.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 11, 2016 at 10:12 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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